- - Thursday, September 15, 2011


Suicide bomber kills 25 funeral mourners

SHINA SAMAR BAGH | A suicide bomber attacked the funeral service Thursday of a Pakistani tribesman opposed to the Taliban, killing 25 people, police said, two days after Taliban gunmen killed four children from another district in conflict with the militant network.

The blast in the Lower Dir region, just 15 miles from the Afghan border, also wounded 60 people. The bomber struck as about 200 mourners were attending the funeral in the Shina Samar Bagh village.

The funeral was for a member of a local “lashkar,” or militia, that is opposed to Taliban rule in the region.

He died Wednesday night.


High demand in heat wave knocks out power for 6 hours

SEOUL | A rare heat wave caused power outages around South Korea on Thursday, trapping hundreds of people in elevators, shutting down traffic lights and stopping factory operations.

The outages were reported in Seoul and other major cities and affected at least 820,000 homes across the country for about six hours until power was restored.

Economy Minister Choi Joong-kyung apologized for failing to be prepared for the surge in demand. Officials said demand was 3.2 million kilowatts higher than expected.


Country will abolish unpopular security law

KUALA LUMPUR | Malaysia will abolish an unpopular security law that allows detention without trial and relax other laws that curb the media and the right to free public assembly, Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

The policy changes are the boldest by Mr. Najib since he took the helm in 2009 and are seen as a move to bolster support for his ruling coalition ahead of general elections that could be held next year.

Mr. Najib said the Internal Security Act would be replaced with two new antiterrorism laws and pledged that no one would be detained because of political ideology.


Thailand, Cambodia agree on easing border tensions

PHNOM PENH | The leaders of Cambodia and Thailand have agreed that troops along their disputed border should meet regularly to ease tensions and withdraw from a temple area as ordered by an international court in July.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said that Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen made the agreement Thursday afternoon in Phnom Penh.

Relations between the countries have been strained since July 2008, when skirmishes broke out in the region around the centuries-old, Cambodian-owned Preah Vihear temple. It sits on a mountain straddling the disputed border.

The clashes have killed dozens of people, and each side blames the other for starting them.


Japan hunts 195 whales in northwest Pacific

TOKYO | Japan said it has caught 195 whales in the Pacific Ocean this season under a research program opposed by activists who call it commercial whaling in disguise.

Japan’s Fisheries Agency said the fleet harvested 49 minke, 95 sei and 50 Bryde’s whales and one sperm whale during its three-month Pacific expedition.

Japan also hunts hundreds of whales in the Antarctic Ocean as part of its research program, which is exempt from a 1986 whaling ban.

Critics say the expeditions are a cover for commercial whaling because meat from the harvest is sold for domestic consumption.

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